Dr. Fauci to throw first pitch at Nationals’ Opening Day game

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a face mask as he waits to testify before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ season-opening game against the New York Yankees, the team announced Monday.

“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” the team said in a statement.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and part of the White House coronavirus task force, is a self-proclaimed Nationals fan.

He has expressed support for sports’ return amid the COVID-19 pandemic if games are played without fans in attendance. Nationals Park, along with the rest of major league ballparks, will be fan-free during this abbreviated 60-game season.

“I think there is a pathway there,” Fauci said in April, but it would depend on how people kept up their social distancing efforts.

“If we do that successfully and there’s no major outbreaks, I could foresee any of a number of scenarios,” where baseball returns, Fauci said.

The Nationals host the Yankees nearly four months after the MLB regular season was originally scheduled to begin. Spring training was halted in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak and teams resumed preparing to play this month.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is a versatile broadcaster with a broad range of experience. He can be heard in in WTOP's traffic center and on the Sports Desk and his byline is on WTOP.com as a web writer/editor and sports columnist.

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